Elijah Dalton has neuroblastoma. He has taken five chemo treatments and the tumor is shrinking, but it is a long road before he has has life back. The Troutville Elementary student is a tough little fellow. But, it seems hard for him to be in the limelight. ” He has been shy through this,” said Allan Dalton.
The community has been very supportive of the Daltons. Elijah had several fundraisers in June. We had the story here. His parents are Allan and Tanya Dalton and he has a little brother Mason. Cancer is bad for a child, but also his family and the monetary costs are extraordinary.
“We just want him to be well. A mother wears her heart on the outside and I just hate to see him so sick.” said Tanya Dalton describing the chemo treatments.
In May, Connor’s Army sent one of a hundred per week of unsolicited press releases received by the Botetourt View. Usually, they are deleted without looking. But after hearing of Elijah and his cancer it twinkled like a jewel. “Gene Connor, of Connor’s Army is riding across the United States from California to New York for childhood cancer awareness and to raise money for a camp in Long Island, New York called Sunrise Day Camp . A free camp for children with cancer.” Connor would be coming down the 76 bike route. A phone call and a few emails and mid August was mentioned as a due date for Connor. Connor’s Army Ride Across America would be in Troutville. Connor learned of Elijah Dalton and a date was made to meet in the park.
He is a drama teacher at Syosset High School in Long Island, NY who volunteers at the camp, the father of three who along with his wife Amy, are trailing him. So far he has raised $18,000 to fund children at Sunrise Day Camp. The camp is free for the cancer patients and their siblings. He hopes to plant seeds though. He has had Connor’s Army since 2007.
Seeds in places like the Roanoke Valley where children with cancer are treated to build a free day camp for their little patients. “My three sisters and my mother were all diagnosed with four separate cancers with in an 18 month period. I had to do something. My focus turned to children. Children just want to be normal and play,” he stated. Thus began his association with the camp where he has been the previous two summers while school was out.
On August 14th, he and his 13 year daughter Sarah rode from Rt 8 near Floyd and Christiansburg to the Troutville Park to meet Elijah and his family at 2 p.m. Sarah has ridden over 400 miles with her dad. They brought hope and encouragement that Elijah will soon be well. To help the Dalton family know there those all over fighting the battle beside him. People like Conner’s Army. Connor has traveled from California and plans to be back in NY in 10 days. He was in Lexington that night.
Gene and Sarah Connor were accompanied by the rest of the family in a van driven by Amy, and with the the two boys William and James.
The children played in the park while the adults talked about treatment. The young folks settled down on a bench and played a video game on Tanya’s phone while the world passed them by. A moment of normality for all involved.
Connor gave Elijah one of his Connor’s Army bike shirts, a flag holder and other goodies. Elijah beamed. It was a day meant to be and hopefully more awareness will come and perhaps those who have dealt with cancer in children will band together here in the Roanoke Valley to forge a camp. However for the Daltons and the Connors it was a day to meet, become friends and spread hope in the afternoon sunshine at Troutville Park.
Donations can be made for the camp on the website and donations for Elijah Dalton can be made at any Sun Trust location.